Swisscom Plans $2.3B FTTx Rollout
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is the latest European carrier to come to terms with the bandwidth requirements of its business and domestic customers: The Swiss national operator says it plans to invest 2.8 billion Swiss francs (US$2.3 billion) in its "fiber-optic expansion" during the next six years. (See Swisscom Commits to FTTx.)
The move is just one of many by European operators looking to build additional fixed access capacity that will support a growing menu of bandwidth-hungry services. (See Russian Altnet Makes FTTx Plans, Dutch Hold Back on FTTH Frenzy, Swedes Top Euro FTTH Ranking, and The Future of Fiber Access.)
What makes Swisscom's move particularly interesting is its rollout strategy, which involves a search for construction partners and the laying of extra fibers that will be sold to other service providers.
Swisscom has already invested significantly in a fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) rollout to support the delivery of VDSL2-based services, such as high-speed Internet access and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) MediaRoom-based IPTV, over the final copper connection. The carrier currently has 1.1 million domestic retail broadband customers and 95,000 IPTV (Bluewin TV) customers. (See Swisscom Reports Q3 , Swiss Nibble at IPTV, Swisscom Ramps Up DSL, and Swisscom Picks Alcatel for IPTV.)
That VDSL2 rollout, using multiservice access node (MSAN) gear from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), covers about 80 percent of Switzerland's 3.2 million households and has enabled Swisscom to hang on to a decent share of the broadband market: The incumbent has about 50 percent of the domestic retail market, while the cable operators, including UPC Cablecom , have about 32 percent. Other ISPs command the remaining 18 percent.
Now, though, Swisscom is facing pressure on two fronts.
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